Unblinking Eye
Webley and Scott Automatic Pistols

 

Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols
Part 2: 1908-1911

by Ed Buffaloe

The Model 1908 6.35 mm - Standard Hammer Model

Webley & Scott Model 1907 and 1908 Comparison - left side
Webley & Scott Model 1907 and 1908 Compariso - right side

W&S Model 1907 6.35 mm

W&S Model 1908 “Standard Hammer” 6.35 mm

Webley & Scott never made a clear distinction between their older and newer model pistols, referring to both as the “Automatic Pistol, .25 or 6.35.” However, the newer pistols is referred to in some catalogues as the “Improved Model,” with no elaboration as to improvements. Neither William Dowell nor Gordon Bruce distinguishes the Model 1908 as a separate model, likely because the late Model 1907 pistols are externally very similar to the early Model 1908, so it seems as if there is a continuous evolution of a single model. But on closer examination, there are numerous differences. As Cuthbertson points out, most parts are not interchangeable between the two models--on the late Model 1908, only the magazine. Cuthbertson calls the new gun the “Standard Hammer Model of 1908.”

The most obvious external difference between the two guns is the curve of the upper portion of the grip, though in fact the Model 1908 frame is thinner than that of the Model 1907 by a couple of thousandths of an inch, and the slide is shorter by almost four-hundredths inch. Underneath the grip plates the real changes are apparent. The leverage post for the long limb of the V-spring is moved from just behind the trigger of the Model 1907 to the rear of the grip frame on the Model 1908, and the roller on the short limb of the spring is eliminated. The shape of the recoil lever is considerably altered. The grip frame cutouts are now round instead of rectangular. The grip plates themselves are externally identical, but have a different configuration on the reverse and do not interchange between the two models. The cam on the safety lever is reduced in size. Under the left grip, the lockwork and safety have been redesigned. Neither gun has sights of any kind.

Webley & Scott Model 1908 6.35mm SN102041

Webley & Scott M1908 6.35mm

According to Cuthbertson, after about 6500 pistols had been made with the above configuration the trigger guard was simplified to save manufacturing steps and reduce production time. The hook on the end was eliminated so there was no longer a flush fit with the frame; the straight end of the trigger guard simply fits into the recess in the grip frame. Simultaneously, the cross-hatched lines on the safety lever were eliminated and replaced with parallel serrations. These changes took place sometime in 1909.

In 1910 a special order was placed for 100 pistols with front and rear sights. These were in the serial number range between 54200-54299. Please contact me if you have one and can provide photographs.*

In 1911 the cam on the safety lever was redesigned, as was the transfer bar. The cam was enlarged and reshaped in such fashion that when the slide was out of battery it depressed the cam which in turn depressed the transfer bar, disconnecting it from the sear. In earlier guns, the falling hammer cammed the transfer bar down, but in the new guns disconnection was tied to the position of the slide rather than the hammer. The new design also prevented the gun from being disassembled unless the safety was engaged.

W-S-M1908-25-SN133907-L-S

Webley & Scott M1908 6.35mm

Gordon Bruce states that in June 1914 the triangular-cut slide serrations were reduced from 12 to 8, but they were made broader so they took up the same amount of space. Slides with 12 serrations continued to appear on guns assembled as late as 1920. However, Cuthbertson maintains that the slide serration change was not made until 1920. At the same time the shape of the trigger was changed to have less curvature, such that the bottom of the trigger did not extend quite as far into the trigger guard area.

The slide legend remained the same as on the earlier pistols, though the spacing of the letters on the first line was increased over time. Eventually the serial number on the left side of the frame was eliminated and serial numbers were only stamped on the back of the grip strap. Pistols exported before World War I were stamped MADE IN ENGLAND on the left side beneath the three-line inscription. After World War I the export stamp was moved to the right side, along the bottom edge. Retailer marks were also stamped on the right side of the slide.

According to Cuthbertson,
M1908-25-Parts-List-S

Webley & Scott M1908 6.35mm Parts List

production was severely curtailed during World War I, and for the first two years afterward guns were assembled exclusively from pre-war parts. But by late 1920 the old parts were used up and production had to begin again. Cuthbertson says, “...the Company slightly altered the profile. The new Profile was more rounded where the trigger guard was hinged to the frame. Additionally, the serial numbers were stamped on the back strap of the frame instead of on the flat behind the left grip plate.” The new hammers were relived at the base, i.e., had an angular cut at the base. Finally, I note that very late Model 1908 pistols have a smaller grip plate escutcheon.

According to Gordon Bruce, manufacture ceased after 1932, but guns continued to be assembled from parts through December of 1939, when the last one, serial number 163109, was assembled. Bruce gives total production as 50,342, but he is combining both the Model 1907 and the Model 1908. Cuthbertson says that the last serial number produced was 163248 in 1940, and he gives an estimated total production for the Model 1908 of just over 48,000.
 

.25 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1907

Weight

302 g

10.65 oz

Height

79 mm

3.1 in

Length

109.2 mm

4.3 in

Barrel Length

53.3 mm

2.1 in


Field Stripping the Model 1908 6.35mm Pistol

  1. W-S-M1908-25-SN95978-FS-S1Engage the safety lever by turning it down (the word SAFE should be visible on the slide).
  2. Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  3. Grasp the trigger guard and pull the rear portion down and away from the grip frame.
  4. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.

The Model 1908 .32 Caliber Standard Model

Webley & Scott Model 1905 Compared with Model 1908

Model 1905 .32 Caliber

Model 1908 (M.P.) .32 Caliber “Standard Model”

In 1908 Webley & Scott began retooling for an updated version of their .32 caliber pistol, but according to Cuthbertson production did not actually begin until early in 1909. Both Gordon Bruce and Stephen Cuthbertson refer to this gun as the Model 1908. Some of the changes introduced in the 6.35mm Model 1908 pistol were adopted for the .32, but the gun also carried over many features from the late Model 1905 transitional pistols. The transitional pistols already had the thin hammer with a hole drilled through it, the short extractor, the sighting groove instead of a rear sight, the retaining pin for the striker (necessitated by the elimination of the rear sight), and Whiting’s lever safety. The button safety patented by John Carter and Frank T. Murray was a much better, safer design, but the lever safety was simpler and cheaper to produce and was already a standard feature of the late transitional pistols.

Webley & Scott Model 1908 .32 Caliber - SN59341

Webley & Scott M1908 .32 Caliber

The new frame had pretty much the same profile as the early frame, but the upper portion of the grip frame was a full quarter-inch thinner. The Model 1908 is about a quarter-ounce lighter than its predecessor.

The scalloped areas on each side of the slide above the trigger guard of the early Model 1905 were eliminated in late transitional pistols, simplifying machining for the slide and giving it a more squared-off look. The trigger was made thicker by about .04 inches and was set further to the rear in the trigger guard. The transfer bar was simplified somewhat and completely hidden under the left grip plate. The roller on the recoil spring was eliminated and the recoil arm and spring were redesigned in a similar fashion to the Model 1908 6.35 mm. Finally, the pivoting trigger guard and button magazine release from the Model 1907 6.35 mm pistol were adopted for the .32. The pivoting trigger guard meant the barrel only needed a single retention notch instead of two, thus simplifying its machining; but the spring steel trigger guard no longer served as a recoil buffer.

Webley & Scott Model 1908 .32 Caliber - SN59341

Webley & Scott M1908 .32 Caliber

Sometime, probably in 1910, the functionality of the safety lever was changed so that if it were disengaged the slide could not be removed--this was an additional safety measure, as apparently sometimes people tended not to check the chamber before disassembling the gun. According to Cuthbertson, the hammer was lengthened by 1/8 inch in 1911 to add a little more weight to its throw. Production of the .32 auto pistol ceased during WWI while the company fulfilled military contracts for the war effort. In 1919, when the pre-war manufactured hammers ran out, new hammers were given an angled cut at the base to allow for greater clearance from the frame. Apparently, there were cases in which dirt and grease had collected between the base of the hammer and the frame, causing binding of the hammer . When other parts made before the war ran out, a few other minor changes were made, the most notable of which being that the sharp edges of the frame and slide were given slightly more rounded contours.

According to Cuthbertson, the early magazine release buttons were cut with five concentric circles to prevent finger slippage. These were later reduced to four and then three. Grip plates were of hard rubber, with walnut plates available for a premium. Third-party aluminum grip plates were offered after the war because the hard rubber plates were so easily broken.
 

.32 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1908

Weight

561 g

19.75 oz

Height

115 mm

4.53 in

Length

159 mm

6.25 in

Barrel Length

90 mm

3.55 in


Field Stripping the Model 1908 .32 Caliber Pistol

  1. W-S-M1908-59341-L-FS-SEngage the safety lever by turning it down (the word SAFE should be visible on the slide).
  2. Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  3. Grasp the trigger guard and pull the rear portion down and away from the grip frame.
  4. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.

The Model 1909 in 9 mm Browning Long

Webley & Scott M1909 9mm SN 55501

Webley & Scott M1909 9mm Browning Long

This is an unlocked breech pistol, essentially scaled up from the smaller .32, but with a grip safety, a slide hold-open mechanism, a rear sight adjustable for windage,  and a top-mounted ejection port. According to Gordon Bruce, the first two pistols for this cartridge were produced in November 1908, and a further six were made in 1909, but these were essentially prototypes made for testing purposes; full-scale production did not begin until 1910. Only a single provisional patent was filed in 1908, with the complete specification coming in 1909 along with another three key patents. Cuthbertson refers to the gun as the 9 mm Automatic of 1908, but the preferred designation among collectors seems to be Model 1909.

The first patent (1908-19,177) was for the slide hold-open mechanism. The second patent (1909-1664) covers a lanyard which serves as the magazine release; however, in the actual implementation of the pistol the lanyard is simply attached to the frame and the magazine release is a button as on earlier pistols. The third patent (1909-2569) covers the grip safety, which incorporates the hammer and sear in a removable module. The fourth patent (1909-2570) is an update of an earlier patent (1908-18,567) for the hinged trigger guard which serves as a barrel locking mechanism.

Webley & Scott M1909 9mm SN 55501

Webley & Scott M1909 9mm Browning Long

The slide hold-open mechanism is simple and effective. A lever centered behind the magazine is pushed upward by the slide follower when the last cartridge has been fired, and engages a cut in the bottom of the slide. The magazine can then be removed and replaced; a button on top of the slide may then be depressed which forces the end of the hold-open lever down allowing the slide to close. If the magazine is loaded, a round will be chambered. Alternatively, if a loaded magazine has been inserted, the slide may be drawn backward slightly and released to chamber a round. There is no manual safety and no half-cock position for the hammer.

The grip safety functions in such a manner that when depressed it moves the sear forward into a position where the transfer bar can engage it. When the grip safety is not depressed the sear is out of reach of the transfer bar. There is no mechanism to lock the hammer or firing pin.

The disconnector sits just behind the trigger. It is depressed by the recoiling slide and moves the transfer bar down just enough that when the trigger is to the rear the transfer bar cannot reach the sear.

The left side slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters more or less centered on the left side of the slide, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
9 M/M AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The W&S winged bullet logo is at the front of the slide. Late pistols have the inscription moved closer to the front. The serial number is stamped on the left side of the grip tang, as well as on the bottom of the barrel and slide.

Webley & Scott had absolutely no hope of obtaining a British military contract for this pistol, as the government was firm in its insistence on a .45 caliber pistol with greater man-stopping potential. However, the Swedish military had adopted the 9mm Browning Long cartridge in 1907, and Webley & Scott believed there might be a market for a less-expensive weapon chambered for the same cartridge. In any case, all that was really needed was to scale up the existing .32 caliber pistol and add a grip safety and a mechanism to lock the slide on an empty magazine to meet military requirements. But sales proved disappointing and, according to Gordon Bruce, only 1694 were ever made. The general consensus as to why the 9mm Browning Long never achieved widespread acceptance is that it was underpowered when compared with other military cartridges of the day such as the 9mm Parabellum, the 6.3mm Mauser, and later the .45 ACP.
 

9mm Browning Long Webley & Scott Model 1909

Weight

988 g

34.85 oz

Height

140 mm

5.5 in

Length

205.2 mm

8.08 in

Barrel Length

127 mm

5 in


Field Stripping the Model 1909 9mm Pistol

W&S-M1909-55501-FS-S

  1. Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  2. Grasp the trigger guard and pull the rear portion down and away from the grip frame.
  3. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.


The 1909-1912 Test Pistols in .455 and .38 Caliber
and the M1911 Commercial Pistol in .38 Caliber

Webley & Scott and William Whiting never lost sight of the original goal of creating a locked breech military pistol. In late 1909 three locked-breech .455 caliber automatic pistols were manufactured for testing purposes. Four more were produced in 1910, twenty-one in 1911, and five in 1912. A scant few of these pistols were actually sold on the commercial market, first appearing in a Webley & Scott catalogue in 1911, and referred to as the .455 High Velocity Automatic Pistol. Most were reserved for military testing, and there were a number of minor variants. Some test pistols were refurbished and sold commercially.

These guns used the breech lock mechanism patented in 1906 for the .45 caliber experimental model, with angled ribs on the side of the barrel that fit into angled grooves in the frame.

According to Gordon Bruce, the British Navy tested the pistol in September of 1909, and made a few suggestions for changes: reposition the grip safety, reduce the trigger pull, and provide a means for firing single rounds while holding the full magazine in reserve. In August of 1910 the gun was tested alongside the latest Colt .45 automatic. By the end of February 1912 the .455 was adopted for limited use by the Royal Navy. Full adoption came in 1913 (see below).

The left side slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
.455 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The pistol was initially chambered for an improved rimless .455 cartridge with a wide extractor groove and a very thin rim. The metal-cased round-nose bullet weighed 224 grains. In 1912 the rim thickness was nearly doubled to .048 inches, and the .455 Webley Auto cartridge was standardized.

In 1909 thirteen pistols were made chambered for the .38 ACP cartridge, which had been introduced by Colt’s in 1900. These guns differed from the .455 in that they had an internal hammer . Another thirteen pistols were made in 1910, with grip safeties, and some with external hammers.

The part holding the barrel and slide together is a heavy pin (referred to as a roller) with a slot cut in it, in which rides the recoil lever on the right side of the gun and which, on early guns, pierces only the right side of the barrel and slide. This quickly gives way to a combination recoil lever and slide stop, which is a thick pin that runs through both sides of the gun and is retained by a screw on the right side. This in turn gives way to a similar pin with a lever on the right side. When the lever is flipped up, rotating the pin, the pin can be withdrawn to disassemble the gun, but is retained in the slide by a screw on the right side. Since the recoil lever rides in a slot in the slide stop, a method of holding the lever out of the slot had to be devised in order to remove the slide stop. This function is performed by the button on the right side of the gun. When the slide is drawn back about a quarter-inch and the button is depressed, it locks the recoil lever a quarter-inch to the rear.

Webley & Scott M1911 .38 ACP - SN62755

Webley & Scott Experimental M1910 .38 Caliber

According to Cuthbertson, production of a military .38 began in early 1911, and hence he refers to it as the Model 1911. Literature for the pistol referred to it as the “.38 Calibre High Velocity Model.” These guns had internal hammers, a grip safety, and used the 1906 breech locking mechanism as did the .455. They also had a lanyard on the bottom, screwed to the frame beneath the left grip, like the Model 1909 in 9mm.

In 1910 William Whiting patented a mechanism whereby a side safety lever could also be used as a release for the slide hold-open mechanism. The hold-open mechanism itself was identical to that of the 9mm Model 1909, but the release was effected by pushing the safety lever upward past the FIRE position instead of a button on top of the slide. This side safety and slide release mechanism was installed on approximately the last 365 guns made in 1911, replacing the grip safety. Bruce refers to these guns as Type III (later pattern).

The left side slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
.38 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The .38 Military Model was tested by the Metropolitan Police, but during testing was found to be unsafe if dropped (a test gun discharged a round when dropped) and so was not accepted. Only 930 of these pistols were manufactured in .38 ACP caliber and, failing adoption by the Metropolitan Police, production ceased at the end of 1911.
 

.38 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1911

Weight

957 g

33.75 oz

Height

141 mm

5.5 in

Length

210 mm

8.29 in

Barrel Length

127 mm

5 in


Field Stripping the Model 1911 .38 Caliber Pistol

  1. Make certain the chamber is empty and remove the magazine.
  2. Draw the slide back about one-quarter inch and press the button just behind the trigger. This locks the recoil lever to the rear away from the slide stop.
  3. Push the slide forward. Rotate the slide stop lever upward and pull it out as far as it will come.
  4. Draw the slide to the rear until it clears the barrel.
  5. Remove the barrel.
  6. Push the slide forward and off the frame.

The Model 1910 in .380 Caliber

Webley & Scott M1910 .380 - SN107669

Webley & Scott M1910 .380 Caliber

John Browning had introduced the .380 ACP cartridge in 1908 as a more powerful alternative to the .32 ACP, and Colt’s had begun chambering their Model 1903 design in the new cartridge, calling the new gun the Model 1908. The English firm of Kynock produced the .380 ACP cartridge for use in the Webley & Scott pistol, presumably beginning in 1909. The cartridge became known as the 9mm Browning Short in Europe, but wasn’t introduced there until 1912, when the Model 1910 FN Browning was finally released.

Almost as soon as William Whiting learned of the new cartridge he wanted to use it in a gun of his own design, so he began considering what modifications might be necessary to adapt his .32 design to the .380 cartridge. Four prototypes were made and tested during 1909.

According to Cuthbertson, production began in the Summer of 1910 at serial number 55047. The new gun was essentially the same size as the .32, so it required only minimal tooling changes. The production gun used the tried-and-true V-spring and recoil lever under the right grip, though the recoil spring had to be more powerful to handle the new cartridge. The barrel, of course, had to be bored larger, and the magazine well, but the external dimensions were effectively the same, and the slide was identical to the .32. Most other internal parts were interchangeable between the .32 and .380.

Only about 200 guns were manufactured in 1910 before a recoil buffer lever was added. This feature had been patented in 1907 (British patent 1907-1601) but had not been deemed necessary on the .32 and so was omitted. But the greater recoil of the .380 cartridge made the buffer necessary to prevent damage to the frame. A cut was made in the bottom rear edge of the chamber of the barrel. This cut engaged the top of the recoil lever. The barrel of the .380 pistol moves approximately one millimeter under recoil, buffered by the recoil lever tensioned at its lower end by the spring steel trigger guard. Bruce provides photographs of the buffer lever, trigger guard, and barrel on page 172, whilst Cuthbertson provides a diagram on page 111.

The left side slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM
.380 AUTOMATIC PISTOL

The inscription was placed toward the front of the slide, and the W&S winged bullet logo was placed at the rear. The serial number is on the left side grip tang.

In 1913 the trigger was redesigned to have less curvature, so its bottom sits a little further back in the trigger guard. The Webley & Scott .380 never sold well, and only 2129 were ever made. Production ended in 1932. Some of these pistols (maybe as many as 250) were used by the South Australian Police between 1913 and 1961, and were marked with the letters S A P over a broad arrow.


.380 Caliber Webley & Scott Model 1910

Weight

547 g

19.3 oz

Height

113.3 mm

4.46 in

Length

155 mm

6.1 in

Barrel Length

89 mm

3.5 in


Field Stripping the Model 1910 .380 Caliber Pistol

  1. W-S-M1910-380-SN107669-L-FS-SEngage the safety lever (the word SAFE should be visible on the slide).
  2. Remove the magazine and make sure the chamber is empty.
  3. Grasp the trigger guard and pull the rear portion down and away from the grip frame.
  4. Pull barrel and slide off the frame toward the front.

Note: Turn the safety lever up when removing the left grip. When reassembling the pistol, with the safety on, put the barrel and slide onto the frame with the trigger guard in its down position, then press the barrel down against a hard but non-abrasive surface to force the recoil lever back slightly, then lock the trigger guard into the frame.


The Metropolitan Police (M.P.) Model of the .32 Automatic

Due to several incidents between March 1909 and January 1911, two in which unarmed London Metropolitan Police officers were shot and killed by criminals and at least one case in which police armed with shotguns and revolvers were seriously outgunned and several wounded by criminals with automatic weapons, the decision was made to purchase automatic pistols for hazardous duty carry by London police on an as-needed basis. The story of how this came about is told in detail in both Gordon Bruce’s book and in Stephen Cuthbertson’s book, so I need not give further details here.

MP-stamp

Crown over M.P. Stamp

Suffice it to say that the Webley & Scott .32 auto pistol, with a few minor modifications, was eventually chosen for use by the Metropolitan Police. (The M.P. pattern was simply a variant of the standard Model 1908 in .32 caliber.) Gordon Bruce states, “[a]doption of the calibre .22 and .32 Webley & Scott pistols was officially sanctioned by the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, in October 1911.” Delivery of the pistols commenced in November 1911.

Minor changes requested included a trigger pull less than 8 pounds, a mechanism to hold the slide open when the magazine is empty, and a more positive safety that could not be accidentally disengaged. Due to accuracy requirements, the company itself decided to add a better rear sight, which consisted of a fixed, raised V dovetailed onto the rear of the slide. The slide hold-open mechanism was simply a reinforced, raised magazine follower that rose up and prevented the slide from closing when the magazine was empty. The slide closes as soon as the magazine is withdrawn--it merely serves as an indicator that the weapon is out of ammunition.

Gordon Bruce notes in a caption that “Official London police pistols were stamped with Royal Crown over initials M.P. on left side of breech and also had Broad Arrow acceptance mark near serial number.” Bruce gives a figure of 1806 pistols in service by mid-1921, of which 1105 were still in use when an inventory was taken in April 1940. So the total number of actual Metropolitan Police pistols was relatively small; however, the M.P. pattern pistol was also sold to other police forces in England and British Commonwealth nations, as well as commercially at home and abroad . Stephen Cuthbertson states, “[b]ased on anecdotal evidence, it can be estimated that approximately 15000 .32 MP pistols were produced between October 1911 and May 1940.”

The Model 1911 .22 Caliber Practice/Target Pistol

Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Practice Pistol - SN137279

Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Practice Pistol

The Metropolitan Police felt that .32 caliber cartridges were too expensive for policemen to practice with, so they requested that Webley & Scott produce a practice pistol in .22 caliber that would have the same heft and feel as the standard issue .32 auto. Webley & Scott had already introduced a single-shot target pistol with a hinged barrel in 1909, but it was too different from the .32 auto pistol to meet the requirements of the Metropolitan Police, so the company was forced to create a new gun, more or less on the spur of the moment, to fulfill their police contract. It is a shame they could not design an eight- or nine-shot automatic pistol, which might have had a greater market, but there simply was not time.

The identical frame casting is used as in the .32 but it is machined differently. The recoil spring and recoil lever are eliminated, and the slide is cut away at the top so the barrel sits further back and the breech block is at the very rear of the slide. Due to the set-back of the barrel in the slide, the barrel is lengthened to provide the same heft as the .32. The gun is a single-shot, so no magazine is necessary, leaving room on the bottom of the grip for a slot to attach a shoulder stock. Since there is no recoil spring, the slide stays open after the
Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Caliber Target Pistol SN 98412

Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Caliber Target Pistol

cartridge is fired, and the cartridge case is typically blown out by back-pressure. There is no extractor. Should the case stick in the chamber, a manual ejector is provided in a slot on top of the barrel. Since Webley & Scott already made a shoulder stock for their .22 target pistol of 1909, the same stock was fitted to the new practice gun. The police practice gun has a 4.5 inch barrel, but the commercial target model has a 9 inch barrel. The barrel and slide are retained by the trigger guard, as on the .32.

Recoil is absorbed almost entirely by the hammer spring. A small spring and plunger are installed in the base of the breech block. The plunger fits into a V-cut on the left side of the frame to hold the slide closed when the hammer is cocked. The spring and plunger may also help retard recoil slightly, as they are compressed when the slide recoils. Early guns have two V-cuts immediately behind the chamber. Later guns have a single V-cut, set back a few millimeters (in essentially the same position as the second cut on the early guns) and the spring and plunger are installed correspondingly further back in the breech block.

Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Field Stripped

Webley & Scott M1911 .22 Target Pistol Field Stripped

There are three variations of slide serrations. The early guns have 12 closely-spaced triangular-cut serrations extending approximately 3/4 inch at the rear of the slide. Intermediate guns have 8 serrations spaced slightly further apart. Late guns have 12 widely-spaced triangular-cut serrations extending approximately 1-1/8 inches. These minor slide variations are illustrated on page 214 of Gordon Bruce’s book. Apparently a few guns were made with no safety lever, and a few with no provision for a shoulder stock.

The left side slide inscription is in all-capital sans-serif characters, as follows:

WEBLEY & SCOTT LTD.
LONDON & BIRMINGHAM

The right side of the slide is also marked in all-capital sans-serif characters, as follows:

.22 RIM FIRE LONG

The serial number is on the left side grip tang. The gun was manufactured through September of 1932, but demand was low. Cuthbertson states that total production was only 1400 pistols.* Collectors wishing to shoot these guns should use standard velocity ammunition only--most modern ammunition is too powerful.
 

Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols: Part 1 (1903-1907)
Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols: Part 3 (1912-1953)
Harrington & Richardson Automatic Pistols of 1912 and 1916
 


* Please contact me if you have information about, or can provide photographs of, Webley & Scott automatic pistols discussed in this article:  edbuffaloe@unblinkingeye.com.


References

  • Boothroyd, Geoffrey. The Handgun. Bonanza Books, New York: 1970.
  • Bruce, Gordon. Webley & Scott Automatic Pistols. Verlag Stocker Schmid, Zurich: 1992.
  • Cormack, A. J. R. Famous Pistols and Hand Guns. Profile Publications, Windsor: 1977.
  • Cormack, A. J. R. Small Arms in Profile, Volume 1. Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY: 1973.
  • Cuthbertson, Stephen. Worldwide Webley and the Harrington and Richardson Connection. Ballista Publishing, Gabriola Island, British Columbia: 1999.
  • Dowell, William Chipchase. The Webley Story.  Commonwealth Heritage Society, Bellingham, Washington: (1962) 1987.
  • Goodman, Roy G.  “The .455 Webley & Scott Pistol,” American Rifleman, May 1962.
  • Thurlow, C. W. and Bewley, Eric G. Webley & Scott Ltd., 1790-1968. Second Edition, 1968.
  • White, Henry P. and Munhall, Burton D. Pistol and Revolver Cartridges. A. S. Barnes and Company, South Brunswick and New York: 1967.
  • Wood, J. B.  Troubleshooting Your Handgun. Follett, Chicago: 1978.

Special thanks to Bill Chase and Jim Frank for photographs and other assistance,
and thanks to Stephen Cuthbertson for answering questions.

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